Esports events are on the rise and a new $50 million video gaming arena taking shape in South Philadelphia is counting on it.
Designed by Populous, the firm responsible for the new Yankee stadium, the main stadium of the London Olympics and Esports Stadium Arlington, the 3,500-seat venue will be the first purpose-built stadium in the US of its kind and the largest esports venue in the Western Hemisphere when it opens in 2021. It’s also the first piece of a broader mixed-use entertainment district.
The 60,000-sf Fusion Arena will be home to the esports team Philadelphia Fusion and host an array of events year-round—concerts to TED Talks to private events—with around 15 percent luxury seating. The lobby will have 2,000 sf of interactive media surface, but the heart of the facility is a 25,000-sf theatre-style event space, one flanked by bird’s-eye social areas on each side and dynamic views back to the stage. Other viewing experiences include two balcony bars, club seats with USB ports, flexible loge boxes and exclusive suites.
Esports is also taking off for meetings groups, with myriad conferences, gaming and team building opportunities and venues popping up here and abroad. Multiple venues dedicated to esports have opened in Asia, including a $280 million “esports town” in Hangzhou. Esports is also set to become a medal sport in the 2022 Asian Games, the second-largest multi-sport event in the world after the Olympics.
The new arena will sit next to Xfinity Live! near Wells Fargo Center and Citizens Bank Park.